Pope Francis has elevated a historic church dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary in Bulacan province to the rank of minor basilica.
The La Purisima Concepcion Parish Church in Sta. Maria town was granted the title by the pope, said an announcement from the Diocese of Malolos on Sunday evening.
Bishop Dennis Villarojo of Malolos announced the church’s new status on March 21 in a video message to the parishioners.
“This designation is Holy Father Pope Francis’ unique recognition of your strong faith especially in this time of pandemic,” said the bishop.
“It also proves the unique bond between the church in Rome and the Holy Father in our parish,” he said.
Founded by the Franciscan missionaries in 1792, the parish is one of the unique Marian centers of the diocese.
The church is home to the revered image of La Purisima Concepcion de Santa Maria, which received canonical coronation on February 1, 2020.
The church is the second minor basilica under the diocese, next to the Minor Basilica of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception or the Malolos Cathedral, and the 18th in the Philippines.